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The New York Times is reporting that Mayor Pete Buttigieg is ending his campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. He barely won in Iowa, maybe. He came second to Senator Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire, then underperformed in Nevada and South Carolina, while Joe Biden suddenly became relevant again, winning convincingly, as he said he would, in South Carolina. Mayor Pete ended up following on the heels of billionaire businessman Tom Steyer, exiting after South Carolina. So what does this mean going forward?
Mayor Pete’s campaign Twitter account paints the picture. Instead of heading to Texas for planned rallies, Buttigieg went back to his home town and gave a speech to his campaign supporters Sunday evening at 8:30 pm, Eastern Time.
It was a well crafted speech, showing loyalty to his party while painting himself as the real leader of leftist change. He claimed that he and his supporters made history in Iowa. That could only be true if his primary identity was as a homosexual man, introduced in this final campaign appearance by the man who would have become First Gentleman, and embracing again as he ended his campaign suspension speech. He tied the politics of sexual identity to the unique history of blacks in America, invoking Selma.
On the other hand, he rousingly delivered a call for the political agenda of the progressive core of the Democratic Party. There was a loud round of chants for “2024, 2024!” Oh, he answered with a pledge to help elect a Democrat this year, and called on his supporters to work for that end. Mayor Pete did what he needed to do, and salvaged his future as best he could. Perhaps we will see him running for governor, almost certainly we will see him working to be a stronger, leading presidential candidate in 2024.
How will his exit affect the race? Conventional wisdom suggests Mayor Pete voters may shift towards Biden, but might they take a look at Bloomberg? I suspect that neither Biden nor Bloomberg will greatly benefit from Mayor Pete, the first man to run for president with a man as his wife. There were young people who volunteered for this campaign as a statement, as with the first Obama campaign.
Because of the evil of massive mail-in and early voting, it is not clear how many votes for Buttigieg can move to Biden, so it may well be, with Bernie Sanders leading the polls strongly in California and Texas, that Sanders will be nearly unbeatable, if voters’ ballots determine the issue.
There were people who wanted to make a statement about sexual politics and our society loud and clear. They were rudely reminded by black and Latino voters that their intersectional virtue was not indisputable. Why, then would these activists turn their enthusiasm towards an old straight white man?
I suspect that we will see a bit of fall-off in participation by younger voters who are not already Bernie supporters. Expect Warren and Klobuchar to stay in through Super Tuesday. Meanwhile, the path is clearer for a longer, bruising battle between Biden and Sanders. We will see what Bloomberg’s billions actually can buy, but I think he will get a very poor return on investment, starting in Texas.Published in